The news and social media have been full of talk about depression and suicide for the last couple of days. I’m glad that there are some awesome discussions going on, and people are talking about subjects that many feel are better left alone. But I am sorry that we are talking about these things because of the death of someone.
I was so sad when I heard about the death of Robin Williams from suicide. Multiple news reports indicated that he had been experiencing severe depression.
I first watched Robin Williams in the television show “Mork and Mindy” in the 1970s. I was a young teenager at the time. I remember being amazed at his energy, his ability to improvise—he was so different from any other actor I had seen at that time.
I always enjoyed his performances through the years. He was truly gifted.
And yet, he was suffering, too.
I don’t have anything profound that I can say here today. But here are some of the thoughts I’ve had:
*If anyone would have been able to “snap out of it,” to “just think about something else,” it would have been someone like Robin Williams.
Depression is serious. It is not something that a person can just “get over” with sheer will or positive thinking.
*If anyone would know how to find help for depression, it would be someone like Robin Williams. He had the means and the ability to find help.
Depression is formidable. It can make people believe that no help would be enough, that they are beyond help and beyond hope. And even in the midst of treatment, people can feel great despair.
*Because it is so serious and formidable, we need to learn more about depression. We need to help people get effective treatment. We need to be open about depression, talk about it not in whispers but in open conversations.
Here are some resources for more information:
Peace to Robin Williams and to his family. Peace to all the suffering, whoever you are.